sour cream ice cream

sour cream ice cream

Perhaps, I aught to file this under “how to charm me”. Perhaps I should go no further than tell you that should you whisper sweet nothings mentioning such things as sour cream into a Russian’s ear, that they just might be yours forever. Or maybe just enough for you to charm them more. In any case, you are guaranteed to get their undivided attention. Or at least my undivided attention. I stop in my tracks where sour cream is concerned. At the moment, as I write this, two whole tubs of it rest comfortably in my fridge. Judge me if you will, but sour cream, to me, is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

eight. egg. yolks. [deep breath]

Sour cream is the Russia’s answer to pretty much everything. The topping of choice to entrees like stuffed cabbage, the dressing to many a salad, the dollop you whirl in your soup. It’s tangy, irresistibly clean and fresh and, this part I find utterly seductive, it’s sensual and luscious. It’s yogurt, but with a more sophisticated, fuller body. In Russia, if you were lucky enough to get your hands on sour cream that came from a someone’s farm home, you knew what you had on your hands. Thick, cream-yellow, buttery, it was the equivalent of dairy gold. We would spread it on bread and I would eat it with my eyes closed. I know, the way I describe growing up in Russia, you wonder why we ever left. Thick, golden sour cream on thick black bread? If there’s heaven on earth, this was it.

sour cream ice creamsour cream ice cream
sour cream ice creamsour cream ice cream

So you have to understand my excitement, when I came upon a recipe that suggested I take my favorite condiment and use it to make ice cream. With eight egg yolks. Yes, my friends. Let’s take that in one more time. Eight. Egg. Yolks. I can feel my knees getting weaker as I type this. Sour cream and egg yolks married together, infused with a whole vanilla bean and cream. It’s as if Gourmet magazine read my innermost thoughts.

sour cream ice cream

And while I think this ice cream is just the bees’ knees just as it is, you could raise it up a notch and try is as a sundae. It’s almost like your traditional vanilla ice cream, except the sour cream gives it that indelible tang, which I find a great deal more refreshing than plain vanilla ice cream – in this summer heat.

sour cream ice cream

Besides, what else is there to do in this heat wave, but to make ice cream? You can see, I’ve been cooling myself off with this stunner and sometimes, even boiling water for pasta is too much. At the rate I’m going, churning batches of ice cream out with regularity, my little ice cream machine is just not cutting it. And I’ve been seriously contemplating graduating myself to a more sophisticated model. Because you know, I totally deserve it. And lest you think I am being totally selfish, I will have you know that I gladly share my ice cream with friends who drop in. Especially friends bearing cookies.

Sour Cream Ice Cream
Adapted from Gourmet, January 1996

2 cups half-and-half
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
8 large egg yolks
2 cups (1 pint) sour cream


1. In heavy saucepan combine half-and-half, 3/4 cup sugar, and vanilla bean and bring just to a boil. Remove pan from heat. In a large bowl whisk together egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Slowly drizzle the hot half-and-half mixture in a thin stream, whisking, being careful not to cook the egg yolks. Return custard to pan and cook over moderately low heat, constantly stirring, until 170ºF on a candy thermometer.

2. Remove pan from heat. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into custard until combined well and discard pod. Stir sour cream into custard until combined well and strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Chill custard until cold and freeze in an ice-cream maker. (I recommend you have a large measuring cup for this – large enough for cake batter. The spout will help you in pouring the custard into the ice cream machine.)

Makes about 1 quart


  • The Gardener's Eden

    This looks divine Sassy Radish… Thank you as always. And yes, I am totally with you, sour cream is right up there with whipped cream. Although I found David Lebovitz’s method for making ice cream sans machine on his blog… I must admit that I now have an ice cream machine on my shopping list too. Let us know what you recommend.
    Today I posted a recipe for Lemon-Mint Sun Tea on my gardening blog. That was as much as I could handle in the heat today. But as soon as I revive, I am going for it with your sour cream ice cream ! Your photos seduced me.

  • Alejandra

    This is all very true. Nothing makes my boyfriend happier than sour cream, or an excuse (like latkes) to eat huge spoonfuls of it. Yesterday I made him zucchini latkes and despite the fact that it was hot and sticky and humid outside (and he’d just showered and put on pajamas), he got dressed and walked 5 blocks to the supermarket to buy sour cream since we were out. I will definitely be making him this.

  • radish

    Michaela – I think good, refurbished models can be bought on amazon for as low as $30!! Which totally is a great deal!
    Alejandra – that is hysterical. And sounds like a true Russian. I would have done the same. To this day latkes with apple sauce do not make sense to me. Particularly, when they’re such a great vehicle for sour cream.

  • Dawn

    That looks delicious! The texture looks amazingly creamy. I thought about making it when I saw it in Gourmet, but now that I’ve seen your picture of it I’ll definitely have to give it a try!

  • EAT!

    While growing up, we used to visit an ice cream palour that made an ice cream that I think is very similar to your recipe. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  • zenchef

    This is evil.. err… no this is heavenly! argghh.. it’s both!
    I’m staring at your beautiful photos hoping it will cool me off from this brutal heat and so far it’s not working. But wow.. this is a fantastic looking/sounding batch of ice cream!

  • radish

    zenchef — have you tried licking the screen? ;-) i have plenty more at home — i wish i could share with more people. only so much ice cream one girl can ingest. i even had it for breakfast this morning!

  • Lisa's Cocina

    So far, the past few times I’ve stopped by, amazing looking ice cream recipes have been posted. Clearly this is a sign that it’s time to invest in an ice cream maker. This recipes sounds so interesting!

  • nithya at hungrydesi

    I love sour cream! We use it a lot in South Indian cooking. This looks heavenly. I can’t quite bring myself to get an ice cream maker but WOW! I just made gingersnap cookies yesterday – shall I bring them over for an ice cream sandwich party :)

  • radish

    Nitya, those would go SO well. Ice cream maker is very useful. I actually gave up a pair of Manolos yesterday in favor of getting a pro ice cream machine. I’ve got priorities and can you blame me?

  • Martina

    I would have to say that a few degrees are ample reason to churn anything into ice cream! Noisette, Walnut, Mint and Cream, and even Goat Milk Yoghurt…but Sour Cream? Now that just sounds delicious.
    Martina@ The Foreign Kitchen

  • Becky and the Beanstock

    Now if this doesn’t scream decadence I can’t imagine what does. And yes, you absolutely deserve to graduate to the next level of ice cream makers — just so long as you share your discoveries with us!

  • Kelly at Crock Tease

    Perhaps I should file this under how to charm ME –because you have. Sour cream ice cream? A recipe to die for, plus a sassy wit? Consider me a fan.
    (I’ve linked to you, and I’m picky, FYI.)

  • vika

    Your description of why Russians love sour cream is oh-so-very-true. Sour cream was and is my salad dressing of choice. Unlike everyother Russian, I refuse to put sour cream in my soup. I don’t know if it was just a rebellion thing or maybe because, as a youngster, I felt like the sour cream took away from the taste/flavor of the soup.

  • EB

    I was never a sour cream fan…. no really!… until recently… and one of the reasons was sour cream ice cream. It’s kind of one of those life changing flavor things…

  • Kasey

    I think I am pretty much destined to make sour cream and/or buttermilk ice cream sometime soon. I keep seeing recipes everywhere, and being a Russian myself, can’t fathom a better way to display these ingredients in all of their pure, unadulterated glory.

  • noëlle of simmer down

    I made a buttermilk ice cream recipe from the Smitten Kitchen a while ago, and the way you describe the flavor sounds very similar. However, I think I like the idea of sour cream better, if only because I have it in the fridge much more often!

  • TRSW

    I LOVE sour cream. I mean eat it with a spoon out of the container LOVE sour cream. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Tracey

    I love Sour cream. It is so versatile. I absolutely LOVE it on fruit pies. It add something that normal cream does not.
    I’m so glad to have found your recipe for this icecream
    thanks Tracey :o)

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